First impressions - what's JACK?

hollunder at hollunder at
Sun Nov 2 08:59:56 GMT 2008

On Sun, 02 Nov 2008 07:40:40 +0100
Tomas Valusek <tvalusek at> wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm a music teacher. I'm visually impaired, but don't need to use 
> assistive technologies, I prefer to utilize various system settings
> such as varying font sizes, altering color schemes, or using
> light-weight magnifiers, one of which is built directly into X server
> - ability to have smaller screen resolution than desktop size. But
> this doesn't seem to work in 8.10, Alt+grey+ and Alt+gray- don't
> respond as expected.

There are even blind people using linux for audio production, so it's
possible with some effort. And those magnifiers are really handy, stuff
tends to be far too small nowadays.

> But that's not why I write this post. Music software in general is
> very demanding to ... sight, a very strange thing considering the
> result is meant to be perceived by ear. Windows music creation
> software is very expensive, and after working with it for several
> hours my eyes hurt badly from constant chasing of mouse pointer. I
> watch Linux since its bearth in 1991 and from time to time I have
> tried various distros. Ubuntu Studio is very attractive to me because
> 1. as a free software, I can use it anywhere not caring about
> software activation or any other license matters, and 2. I hope I can
> eventually get a music creation tool which would suit my needs - by
> providing feedback to developers.
> But currently, I feel tossed away by Ubuntu Studio - if I run apps
> like MusE or Rosegarden, they complain JACK is not found. As a
> Windows user, I have no ide what's JACK for, and searching the Net
> yields some pages describing JACK from developer's point of view, no
> end-user, non-technical howto exists AFAIK. I think if I get
> specialized distro like Ubuntu Studio, no such dialogs should appear
> after install, this should be configured during install.

Jack is a low-latency soundserver, comparable to asio if you want, but
it also lets you connect audio and midi applications in a flexible
Some applications start jack themselves, one of them is ardour.
The general problem is that jack needs to be configured for ones
hardware to work properly and the user needs some knowledge of what it

> User docs of Ubuntu Studio are heavily outdated and incomplete, an 
> article about audio apps has just the heading saying JACK and JACK
> apps, but nothing is written about this subject. I wanted to look
> into forums, but after clicking a linke labeled Genearl help, no
> "studio" string is found on that page. Yes, there is Multimedia
> production forum, but there should be specific Ubuntu Studio forum
> with "studio" in its name, where distro-specific issues should be
> discussed.

I know that the docs are outdated. I attempted to write a short
tutorial for firsttime jack users but lost interest, try to find it on
the wiki, it's called jackquickstart or something.

Multimediaproduction is the category for ubuntu studio, I think they
chose this to show that ubuntu and ubuntu studio is mostly the same and
not a completely different distro.

Best regards,

> Nevertheless, I'm not going to give up, since I'd like to create
> music without my eyes hurting :-)
> Best Regards.
> Tomas Valusek

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